3 Priests Laicized

St. Louis Review [St. Louis MO]
February 4, 2005

Three priests accused of sexual abuse have been dismissed from the priesthood, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke announced Jan. 28.

Archbishop Burke had initiated laicization proceedings last year against Michael McGrath, Donald Straub and Robert Yim "for the welfare of all children and for the welfare of the Church," according to a statement by the archdiocese.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith dismissed the three from the clerical state.

According to the statement by the archdiocese, all three men had credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them. Last year in a mediation process the archdiocese settled several civil cases of clergy abuse that involved McGrath and Yim as well as others.

Laicization, which is given with the approval of the pope, means that a priest has been definitively returned to the status of a layman, is dispensed from all the obligations that he assumed by sacred orders and that a diocese no longer has responsibility for his support.

The statement noted that Archbishop Burke "expresses his deepest regrets to all who have been harmed by these priests and to anyone who has been abused by a member of the clergy. The archbishop deplores the grave evil of sexual abuse of a minor and reiterates his and the archdiocese’s concern for the welfare of all children."

McGrath was ordained in 1975 and remained in ministry until 1997 when his faculties were removed by the archdiocese.

He served at St. Ferdinand Parish in Florissant, 1975-78; St. Patrick in Wentzville, 1978-81; All Souls in Overland, 1981-83; St. Simon in South County 1983-88; Corpus Christi in Jennings, 1988-89; St. Catherine of Sienna in Pagedale, 1989-90; St. Mary in Bridgeton, 1990-96 and St. Stephen in South St. Louis, 1996-97. He was on the faculty of Bishop DuBourg High School from 1995-97.

Straub was ordained in 1975 and served at St. George Parish in Affton, 1975-78; Our Lady Queen of Peace in House Springs, 1979-80; and St. Charles Borromeo, 1980-86. He then was removed from ministry.

Yim was ordained in 1974. He served at St. Clare of Assisi Parish in Ellisville, 1974-78; the Latin America Apostolate, 1978-81; St. Dominic Savio in Affton, 1981-85; St. Paul in Fenton, 1985-90; and as a chaplain at Barnes Hospital with residence at All Saints in University City, 1990-95. He was removed from ministry in 1995.

In 2002, another archdiocesan priest, Joseph D. Ross, was laicized after he had been removed from ministry due to substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Archdiocesan officials confirmed that they were asking the Vatican to laicize Father Bryan M. Kuchar, who was sentenced in 2003 to three years in the St. Louis County Jail following his conviction of three counts of statutory sodomy.

Anyone who has been harmed by a member of the clergy is asked to contact civil authorities or Msgr. Richard Stika, episcopal vicar for Child and Youth Protection, at (314) 633-2222.


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